In Brief

Find your ‘secret crush’: Facebook joins the dating scene

Tech giant rolls out new feature to rival apps such as Tinder

Facebook is taking on the likes of Tinder and Bumble by rolling out a new feature to help the social media platform’s European users find love. 

Facebook Dating launched in the US in September last year and was due to arrive in Europe in February. But the European launch was delayed after “regulatory concerns” were raised by Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner, the EU’s main watchdog for Facebook and a number of the world’s other leading technology firms, Reuters reports. 

Prior to yesterday’s launch in Europe, the dating service was already available in 20 countries, where more than 1.5 billion matches have been made through the feature. And by “dipping its toe in the dating pool” in a total of 32 European countries, Facebook is set to help billions more people find a partner, the Daily Mirror says. 

‘Privacy at the forefront’ 

Located within the main Facebook app, Dating is a “dedicated space to connect with others based on common interests, and find love through what you like”, according to the company. 

In a blog post titled “privacy matters”, Facebook Dating product manager Kate Orseth explains that the feature is an “opt-in experience” that allows users to “choose to create a dating profile, and delete your dating profile at any time without deleting your Facebook account”. 

Users of Dating can also share Stories through Facebook or Instagram, add events, groups and interests to their profiles, and even go on virtual dates over in-app video calls. 

And as Orseth’s blog post title suggests, Dating has been built with “safety, security and privacy at the forefront”. 

Facebook says that “we worked with experts in these areas to provide easy access to safety tips and build protections into Facebook Dating, including the ability to report and block anyone, as well as stopping people from sending photos, links, payments or videos in messages. We won’t suggest current Facebook friends as potential matches or notify them that you’ve joined Dating.”

Find your ‘secret crush’

One feature in particular within Facebook Dating is grabbing the headlines. “Secret Crush” allows users to “explore potential relationships” with people they already know on Facebook and/or Instagram. 

Users can select up to nine Facebook friends or Instagram followers who they may want to date. And “if your crush adds you to their Secret Crush list too, it’s a match”, Facebook explains.

However, Secret Crush selections “will only materialise if both parties match - otherwise the selection remains anonymous”, Sky News reports.

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